Home Africa & International 101-year-old Ralph Clarke jailed for child sex offences

101-year-old Ralph Clarke jailed for child sex offences

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A 101-year-old man has been jailed for 13 years for committing 30 child sex offences.

Ralph Clarke, of Erdington, Birmingham, is thought to be the oldest person convicted in British legal history.

Judge Richard Bond QC said Clarke had been guilty of “systematic abuse” between 1974 and 1983.

He was found guilty of 21 counts of abusing two girls and admitted nine charges relating to a boy during his trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

The court heard the retired haulier abused the girls at his home in of Holly Lane, Erdington, in the cab of his works truck and in his garden shed.

‘No remorse’

The former RAF serviceman, who was born in March 1915, was given details of the sentencing by an intermediary.

Judge Bond told the court the passage of time did not mean abusers would escape justice.

“Those who were sexually abused even in the distant past can rest assured that any complaint will be treated with sympathy and compassion,” he said.

“We believe he was the oldest person tried in English criminal court,” Judge Bond said, adding the defendant had been able to follow proceedings because special arrangements had been made.

Judge Bond previously told the court the public would be “horrified” if Clarke was not sent to prison but he had to “ponder with care” over the sentence.

“The reality is that he’s so old it’s unlikely he’ll be released back into the community,” he said.

The judge told Clarke: “You present as a fragile old man; however, what was plain to see was that, despite your guilty pleas, you have no remorse whatsoever.”

Clarke, who uses a walking stick, looked ghostly white during the sentencing.

His victims reported the offences to West Midlands Police in August last year after seeing Facebook posts celebrating Clarke’s 100th birthday.

Clarke admitted two counts of attempting to commit a serious sexual offence, two of indecency with a child and five indecent assaults on the boy.

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